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October 24, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Brian Bennett

Brian Bennett
  (3:00 PM)

Hello, everybody, and welcome to another Big Ten chat. I'm here for the next hour, so fire away with your best questions.

MarchingBucky (Madison, WI)

As of right now, how do you feel about the Badgers? Do you see a forthcoming rematch against MSU in Indy, or do you think they may not even make it that far? If they do end up in a rematch against MSU, I am curious about your pick.

Brian Bennett
  (3:02 PM)

I think Wisconsin is still in good shape for the Leaders Division. The Badgers look better to me than everybody in that division, and they get Penn State at home. Obviously, they have to win at OSU this week. In a rematch, I might slightly favor Wisconsin, just because they very nearly went to OT on the road. Would love to see it.

Kevin (East Lansing, MI)

Can Michigan State make it 4-0 in their brutal October stretch with a win at Nebraska? Also what are the keys to the game for both teams?

Brian Bennett
  (3:03 PM)

First all, the Spartans have to stay up emotionally for a fourth straight game, and that may be difficult. Nebraska has to find some ways to loosen up that defense with the pass. Martinez looked a little shaky throwing the ball against Minnesota. The game will be won or lost up front on both sides.

Beaudacious (Kinky City, Iowa)

You guys still have the B1G with two BCS teams. Since there is little to no shot at a NCG for us. Would it not be better to not go to two as we would match up better in the Bowls. the B1G plays in a bunch of tough bowls not those crap ones the BE gets. Thoughts?

Brian Bennett
  (3:05 PM)

The league would rather have the income from a second BCS game, no question. Depending on the opponent, I think the Big Ten could match up just fine in a second bowl.

James (Louisville)

As an MSU fan I am pumped with the win on Saturday, however I am nervous that we could go 11-2 (lose in the B1G Championship) and end in the Capital one Bowl again. What chance do you give MSU getting a BCS bid after losing in the B1G Championship?

Brian Bennett
  (3:07 PM)

I asked Brad Edwards today his thoughts on a the Big Ten getting two bids, and he said he didn't think the loser of the B1G title game would go. However, if MSU is 11-2 at that point, it should be near the top 8, and a loss to a team it beat once might not hurt the Spartans in the voters' minds. So much is going to depend on what others do. The Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 could all get two bids this year.

Heisman Voter (New York)

Ooops, wrong place. Nothing for me to see here anymore.

Brian Bennett
  (3:07 PM)

You got that right

Jack Freim (San Diego, CA)

Do you think it's still possible for the Illini to be a 9 win team? Could they still possibly play in a semi-major bowl? Do you think they have a chance against a "rising" Penn State team?

Brian Bennett
  (3:08 PM)

The Illini have Penn State, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota left. Assuming they'll beat the Gophers, they'd need to win two out of those other three. That's tough. They'd better find a way to win this week, but I don't like how they're trending

David (Waukee)

Brian, who do you think will win offensive MVP? Seems to be very wide open, what do you think of Mcnutts chances?

Brian Bennett
  (3:10 PM)

Would have said Russell Wilson hands down before Saturday. I think he still may be the leader, but the door is open for guys like Silas Redd and Kirk Cousins and others to bust through. It's hard for a receiver to win the award without a completely dominant season, so I don't think McNutt is close without a huge finish

Urban Meyer (SoontobeColumbus)

Brian...folks had better get us this year or watch out. This year's team is young, young young...that being said, as I watched the bucky/sparty affair, I will now use backside pressure to stop Ball on the cutbacks, where he is a weapon. What are your impressions for Sat night? I have to say the edge now goes to OSU...when was the last time they were an "dog" at home? Wisky has lost their "edge" in my opinion.

Brian Bennett
  (3:11 PM)

I won't go as far to say Ohio State has the edge, but I am intrigued by the way the Buckeyes' defense is playing. I think that D-line, led by Simon and Hankins, can give Wisconsin some fits. My question is whether the Buckeyes can score enough. MSU played really well, and Wisconsin still scored 31 points.

Justin (Nebraska)

I get that you can't look to much into how Nebraska's defense played since it was Minnesota I agree with you on that. But when you say that Penn States offense can win a game, give me a break it was against Northwestern the worst defense in the B1G that isn't basically an FCS opponent. So where is your reasoning? If you can't look into Nebraska's defense against Minnesota, which I agree with. You can't look into Penn States offense against Northwestern!

Brian Bennett
  (3:12 PM)

The thing I like about Penn State's offense is this is now three weeks in a row that the offensive line has looked pretty strong, and Silas Redd is on fire. Finally starting McGloin was big, too. Northwestern's D is still better than any unit for Minnesota, I'm afraid

Desperate for signs of life (Hoosierville)

Is Roberson really the answer for Indiana? Is he even close to a homeless man's version of Kiel?

Brian Bennett
  (3:13 PM)

I like what I've seen out of Roberson, both last week and against Illinois. He's very athletic and is a dual threat guy. Quarterback isn't really the issue for the Hoosiers. They need some bodies on defense.

Timmy (Cherokee, IA)

You have Purdue getting to the Little Caesar's Bowl. At 4-3 right now, they need two wins. Left on their schedule is Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Iowa, and Indiana. I see one win with Indiana, but I don't see another win on that schedule. Do you?

Brian Bennett
  (3:15 PM)

I think Purdue has a chance against Michigan and Iowa, for sure, and I wouldn't rule out the Ohio State game. Don't know if the Boilers can pull any of those off, but they have a chance if they keep playing this well. I'd rather bet on them than Northwestern at this point, for sure.

John M. (New Haven, CT)

Denard Robinson may very well again struggle in the second half of the season. If that is the case, do you think Michigan still has a chance at finishing he season with only 2 or perhaps 1 loss?

Brian Bennett
  (3:16 PM)

Clearly, Robinson has to play well for Michigan to win. I think he will. The MSU game was a combination of a really good defense and a really fierce wind. That doesn't come together too often. And it's not like Michigan wasn't in that game. They had a chance to tie it late in the 4th quarter

Andy (Des Moines)

How are the Hawkeyes going to win with this Defense? I really hope we are not relying on a quarterback that has been a linebacker for all of a week to save us.

Brian Bennett
  (3:17 PM)

It's an excellent question, and it's why I think Iowa won't win the Legends division despite getting both Michigan schools at home. The offense looked great the past two weeks but the defense gave up a lot of yards to Northwestern and Indiana.

Josh (Michigan)

Is there any situation where a 1-loss Michigan State team could have a chance at playing in the National Championship? Or is a Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl bid the best they can get?

Brian Bennett
  (3:18 PM)

Not unless everybody else in the country collapses, no. The loss to Notre Dame will haunt the Spartans. But I think they'd be happy with a Rose Bowl bid

Brandon (Omaha)

Looking back at Wisconsin's 2 real conference games (sorry Indiana), what one factor explains the gigantic difference in how they played? Road environment vs Camp Randall? The fact that it was Nebraska's first B1G game? Or is MSU flat out that much better than Nebraska?

Brian Bennett
  (3:19 PM)

Michigan State at home is better than Nebraska on the road, for sure. The Spartans defense is better than Nebraska's and Michigan State had more ability to take advantage of Wisconsin's secondary than Nebraska did.

Frank (Washington DC)

Do you think Denard is more hurt than Hoke is letting on?

Brian Bennett
  (3:20 PM)

Impossible to know, really, after a bye week. Hoke said Robinson's back was sore and that he practiced last week. For now, there's no real reason to doubt him

Josh (St. Paul) [via mobile]

Brian, please give me something to be excited about the Gophers: future recruits, anything.

Brian Bennett
  (3:21 PM)

Hmmm ... well, Jerry Kill knows what he's doing. It's just going to take time. And the roster is very, very young. This experience, as tough as it is right now, should help them down the road.

Nacho (Chicago)

Michigan fan here and also now a fan of anyone Michigan State plays from here on out. If Michigan finishes 11-1 and doesn't make it to the CCG, what do you think of the Wolverines in a BCS bowl? Hasn't the BCS committee been known to snub the loser of a CCG?

Brian Bennett
  (3:22 PM)

I think Michigan would go to a BCS game in that scenario, as MSU fans howled in protest.

Will (Madison, WI)

Brian,I am completely crushed after last Saturday's loss to MSU. I feel the game was completely winnable. Anyway, I have three questions for you.1. I am not sure how Nebraska could be ranked above us in the BCS when we beat them so handily. It does not make sense to me and shows an obvious flaw in the system.2. Why is everyone knocking Russell Wilson. Sure, he threw two interceptions, but one was not his fault (Toon seemed to miss his route). Furthermore, he showed some great heroics in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to tie the game. I feel like his stock shouldn't drop because the defense messed up.3. In your most recent bowl projections, MSU is in the Rose Bowl and Wisconsin is in the Sugar Bowl. Could you explain a scenario in which that is possible?Sorry for the long winded questions. I am distressed and completely heart-broke after this past weekend. I know you can help me!

Brian Bennett
  (3:25 PM)

Hang in there, Will. 1) the computer rankings are why Wisconsin is behind Nebraska. The Badgers are suffering for their schedule, but the numbers should improve. 2) Wilson threw one really bad interception. But his stock is down because he was flawless until Saturday. That was his big Heisman test, and he didn't ace it. 3) Bowl projections at this point are still a little silly. We have MSU at No. 1 so we have to pick them for the Rose. If Wisconsin won out and lost to MSU again, it would be 11-2 but with losses to the same team. That and its fan base might be enough for an at-large bid.

Tom (Virginia)

Which of Penn State's remaining games do you think will be their toughest?

Brian Bennett
  (3:26 PM)

The finale in Madison

Eric (Grayslake, IL)

Brian Brian Brian. I just spent some serious green to order two tickets to the Iowa vs. MSU game on November 12th. My wonderful girlfriend is an MSU alum and I an Iowa alum. Please give me some hope that my hawkeyes can pull the upset over the favored Spartans in Iowa City. Otherwise my girlfriend will have braggin rights this year.

Brian Bennett
  (3:27 PM)

Well, Michigan State hasn't had a whole lot of success in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes' offense will give them a chance.

Sparty (Marquette, MI)

How difficult is it to play at Nebraska compared to other B1G venues? Sparty was able to be up for the OSU game which is a tough environment, but just wondering how difficult its going to be after 3 emotionally tough games. (I'm sure the win helps though)

Brian Bennett
  (3:28 PM)

I've only been to Lincoln once (until this week), so it's tough for me to judge. I will say that the fans are right on top of the action, and they are into it. Of course, Ohio State won there, so ...

Cory (Colorado)

Are people done referring to MSU as "lucky" and ready to start saying they really are that good? if not, how many more quality wins and strong seasons will it take?

Brian Bennett
  (3:29 PM)

The Spartans are really good. Anyone who thinks otherwise is fooling himself

Pete (West Lafayette) [via mobile]

Do you think TerBush did enough on Saturday to put the infernal two-QB system to rest for the Boilers?

Brian Bennett
  (3:29 PM)

Wouldn't be surprised if we still see Marve play some, as Hope said TerBush simply had the hot hand. But Purdue seems to believe in TerBush, and he's getting better each week.

ArcherNE (Nebraska)

When will the Nebraska Blackshirts get their black shirts? Do you think they earned them after stepping up without Crick against a lowly opponent this weekend? Or if they play good next weekend against Michigan St?

Brian Bennett
  (3:31 PM)

You mean giving up 14 more points to Minnesota than Michigan did is a cause for celebration? Everybody gets well against the Gophers. This week is a far more serious test

Brian Bennett
  (3:31 PM)

Forgot the word almost in that answer about Ohio State and Nebraska, obviously

eric (canton)

Any chance JoePa gets into a BCS game?

Brian Bennett
  (3:32 PM)

Penn State would basically have to win out at this point, or get some help to get to the Big Ten title game and win. The Lions are on a roll, but the schedule is about to get harder and I have a hard time believing they won't lose one more time, at least

Midterm Maniac (East Lansing )

All Michigan B1G championship game. What do you say?

Brian Bennett
  (3:33 PM)

I'd say you need to study your divisions a little more closely, MM

Berge (Madison)

Isn't it a little early to be eliminating Russell from the Heisman Race when the two favorites have yet to face their biggest tests (Luck v. Oregon and Richardson v. LSU)?

Brian Bennett
  (3:34 PM)

Russellmania can get back in it, but there's just a whole lot of competition out there. I don't see it happening

B1G Fan (Midwest)

Any rationale behind keeping Oklahoma in front of Wisconsin after their loss at home to an unranked (didn't receive any votes last week) Texas Tech team?

Brian Bennett
  (3:35 PM)

I've never been a huge believer in Oklahoma (never had them ranked higher than third from the preseason on). But the Sooners' overall schedule has been a little tougher than Wisconsin's to date, in my opinion

Bloomberg (New York)

Brian, love the blog. I know everyone is down on the Big10 this year but it seems kind of early to declare that a 1 loss Big10 champ is out of the title game. Stranger things have happened. My question; which 1 loss big 10 champ would have the best chance: MSU, Wisky, Mich, or PSU?

Brian Bennett
  (3:37 PM)

You're right, though a lot of really strange things would have to happen. I'd be stunned if the SEC doesn't get one spot in the title game. Then you've got the Big 12 teams, the Pac-12 teams, Boise, Clemson, etc. The Big Ten needs a lot of help, and its top contenders have nothing on their nonconference schedules to make the argument stronger

Vic F (Lincoln)

Nebraska still could be a 1 loss B1G champ...

Brian Bennett
  (3:38 PM)

Very true. And the Huskers get MSU at home this week. They still have to go to Michigan and PSU, though, and neither will be easy.

Drew (Milwauke)

Brian, can you give us your take on the cost of attendance and mulit-year scholarship reform that the NCCA and Big Ten are considering? I know a lot of people are vehemently against anything they perceive as another 'perk' for spoiled and greedy players, but isn't this just a fairly non-controversial update to a system that has not done a good job of keeping with the times?

Brian Bennett
  (3:39 PM)

I am definitely for multi-year scholarships and have come around on COA. Anything that helps the players is a good thing. The only thing I don't like is that different leagues can decide for themselves whether to do it. I think all the major leagues should play by the same rules.

Johnny Dorn (Milwaukee)

Brian, which total will be higher: amount of points Minnesota scores against Iowa or total runs scored in game 5 of the World Series. (Gimme some more Zooey!!!)

Brian Bennett
  (3:40 PM)

I think Minnesota can get at least 10 against the Iowa defense and maybe more, and with Carpenter and Wilson tonight, the Series score should be lower. And amen.

Still Desperate (Hoosierville)

Any chance Gunner stays with IU?

Brian Bennett
  (3:41 PM)

Possible, especially given the family ties and how close his hometown is to Bloomington. But it sure sounds like he and his parents don't like what they're seeing at IU. On the plus side, Notre Dame probably didn't impress him too much Saturday with its play!

Brian Bennett
  (3:41 PM)

Not necessarily. Playing Wisconsin and playing Minnesota are two different worlds.

Jay (Illinois)

Just thinking about an ACC team in the NCG makes me sad.

Brian Bennett
  (3:42 PM)

Agreed, though Clemson has been very good. If I know the ACC, though, they're due for a head-scratching loss soon

Cory (Colorado)

would nebraska losing several games in the big ten make the big 12 teams stock drop or raise the perception of the big ten since the huskers regularly won the big 12 north?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

Different years, different teams. Don't think it means much in terms of perception

Austin (Toledo)

brian, don't you think that different leagues having/not having COA would give those leagues the edge in recruiting?

Brian Bennett
  (3:43 PM)

Quite possibly, which is the worrisome thing about it.

Steve (NJ)

Brian, Wisc loses and PSU wins, yet Wisc is ahead in the power rankings? Did Adam put you up to that because he was upset NW lost?

Brian Bennett
  (3:44 PM)

Steve, PSU beat an 0-4 Northwestern team, while Wisconsin lost to 3-0 Michigan State. Come on.

Struggling Alumni (Illini land)

I know UI and Minnesota are both just doing awful this year, but what do you think about Illinois? do you think they are a second half collapse, and do you think Ron Zook is on the hot seat AGAIN?

Brian Bennett
  (3:45 PM)

I think it's quite possible Zook's heat will warm up, especially with a new athletic director, if the Illini don't turn things around. The schedule is not easy, and a 7-5 or worse finish is possible. That would not be good with the very advantageous schedule

Jay (State College)

I'm thinking about starting Bolden against Ilinois. Should I?

Brian Bennett
  (3:45 PM)

Ugh. Why?

John M. (New Haven, CT)

Does Michigan have a chance to run the table on their remaining schedule?

Brian Bennett
  (3:46 PM)

There's not a game left where I'd be surprised if Michigan won. The Nebraska and Ohio State games look tough, but they're both at home. Going to Iowa will be no picnic, either

Jeff Leise (Milwaukee, WI)

Brian, which outcome would make you happier? Correctly picking every remaining B1G game and Beating Adam in fantasy or seeing the Cards win the Series

Brian Bennett
  (3:47 PM)

The Cardinals, hands down.

SpartyGirl (East Lansing)

Michigan State vs Penn State in the B1G chamionship game? Odds? Favorite?

Brian Bennett
  (3:48 PM)

Would certainly love to see those two defenses get after it on the same field. I'd favor Michigan State because it has a little bit better balance, but both offenses would be sore the next day.

Dirk Diggler (B1G country)

Brian, explain why you think West Virginia is the 25th best team in the Country? Iowa and Illinois would destroy them. A seven point Illinois loss to Purdue is a lot less embarrassing than being blown out by Syracuse, yet they drop out.

Brian Bennett
  (3:49 PM)

I can tell you that filling out the No. 25 spot every week is a real chore. There are a whole bunch of mediocre teams out there. WVU was terrible last week, but I still like the Mountaineers' offense. I admit it's a crapshoot

Ariel S. (LA, Cali)

How many sacks do you think Will Gholston will get against Nebraska for revenge over his 1-game suspension?

Brian Bennett
  (3:50 PM)

Not easy to sack Taylor Martinez, but I am looking forward to seeing how Gholston responds after his suspension

Daniel (York, PA)

Brian - at this point, do you have to consider Silas Redd a darkhorse Heisman candidate (566 yards & 4 TDs) in 4 games? If not a Heisman candidate, in the conversation as the best running back in the B1G? Obviously James White and Monte Ball are doing what they do, but behind a MUCH better Offensive Line.

Brian Bennett
  (3:51 PM)

Not Heisman worthy -- the Alabama game killed that -- but definitely in the conversation for best in the Big Ten

Used to losing (Stadium Hell)

We've all heard about the arguments about best venue in the B1G, what's the worst?

Brian Bennett
  (3:52 PM)

I haven't been to all of them yet, but Bloomington gets my vote. Almost no home-field advantage whatsoever

Kevin (East Lansing, MI)

If Jerel Worthy decides to return for his senior season, would it be possible for next season's defense to be better since they only have one senior on this year's squad?

Brian Bennett
  (3:53 PM)

The way he's playing, I don't see why he'd come back. He's got to be moving into first-round territory. But if that happened, the defense would be ferocious again. Still should be good without him

Austin (Toledo)

brian, having seen this weeks game in east lansing, what does it make you think about the wolverines D? it's looking now like they can play a little bit, despite the hurricane winds when they faced sparty

Brian Bennett
  (3:55 PM)

You know, you take away the punt block, and the Hail Mary, and there wasn't much difference in MSU offensive output in both games. I don't think either Wisconsin or Michigan are elite defenses, but they're decent. The Spartans are not a real explosive offense, either

GBK (Lincoln Park)

Northwestern has to be considered amongst the worst as well. It's usually 60-70% the other team's fans.

Brian Bennett
  (3:56 PM)

True. Also looked like a lot of empty seats at Ross-Ade this weekend. What was up with that, Boiler fans?

Waffles (Southern California)

I know Wisconsin losing to MSU makes the B1G seem weaker from a national perspective since we have no undefeated teams. But from YOUR perspective, do you feel that Michigan State beating us shows that in this league, there are no gimme wins?

Brian Bennett
  (3:57 PM)

If you'll recall, I said all along I didn't think any Big Ten team would go undefeated this year because the league was so balanced. The Badgers' early dominance made us all forget that. There are gimme wins (they're called Minnesota and Indiana), but there's not a lot of difference between the top and upper middle teams. The problem is there may not be one true elite squad

Ted (VA)

We (Purdue fans) don't support our coach. Why would we pay money to go and watch our team play poorly and have a bad coach managing the team week after week?

Brian Bennett
  (3:58 PM)

Well, they did win this week, right?

Floyd (Rosedale)

I'm homesick for Iowa. Do you think I'll be going back?

Brian Bennett
  (3:58 PM)

I'd be shocked if Minnesota won a Big Ten game this year.

Waffles (Southern California)

I wouldn't call minny a gimme win. See the Illini and Iowa, last year. Also, USC this year.

Brian Bennett
  (3:59 PM)

Or see every other Minnesota game this year

Brad (Iowa)

At this point in the season, what can Iowa do to improve its defense? Is it just a matter of being too young and inexperienced? Is the talent simply not there?

Brian Bennett
  (3:59 PM)

I'd say it is what it is by this point in the season. Keep practicing, hope some young players really develop over the final month. But it's not going to drastically improve

Brian Bennett
  (4:00 PM)

OK, my time is up for today. Thanks for all the great questions. Have an excellent week!